Kia Proceed review: facelifted shooting brake tested in UK

Published: 30 June 2023 Updated: 30 June 2023
Kia Proceed front action
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer

► We test the facelifted Kia Proceed
► CAR reviews the estate on UK roads
► Now fewer engine choices for shooting brake

Kia might be a brand that’s smashing all the historical preconceptions with its latest headline grabbing and brilliant EVs, but it’s reassuring to know that the good ‘ole fashioned hatch is still doing the numbers. 18 per cent of Kias sold in 2022 were from the Ceed family.

That grouping runs to the regular hatchback, the Proceed tested here and the pure estate Sportswagon, all now facelifted.

If you recall, the first gen Kia ProCeed was a halfway house between regular hatch and full-on hot hatchback, powered by a 200-ish horsepower 1.6-litre with a warmed-over body kit and tidy handling.

Kia Proceed estate front action

In 2019, the ProCeed morphed and became an attention-grabbing shooting brake with smart styling and eye-catching design details. Following 2023’s facelift, the engine has been wound back, so it’s now a slightly downsized 1.5-litre, 158bhp turbo petrol.

Still, at least the looks remain eye-catching. Although it lacks the Sportswagon’s ultimate practicality, it’s a decent halfway house between the other siblings and offers something different to the norm in the class. When all about are abandoning this sector, it’s good to see Kia offering something for the non-SUV buyer.

There’s plenty for aesthetes too: with its arcing roofline atop a crescent-shaped glasshouse, the slammed wagon has plenty of coupe style. The front bumper gains swoopier foglights that arc back into the wheelarch for this facelifted car – the easiest clue as to which model year you’re in. There are even fewer changes at the rear, but it’s a mark of how tall most modern cars have got that it feels strange to walk up to the Proceed and be able to see clean over the top of it.

There’s nothing else like it from a mainstream car maker, though it takes ‘inspiration’ (more Kia parlance) from the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake. But with a list price starting around £26,500, it’s about £10k cheaper than a basic baby Benz wagon.

New 2023 Kia Proceed: shrunken range, still looks good

The Proceed is available in two trim levels, GT-Line and GT-Line S, and with just the one engine, the diesel having been dropped. Two gearbox options are still available – the six-speed manual (GT-Line only) or the seven-speed dual clutch ‘box that’s the only variant in this top spec GT-Line S. The price difference between the two is £6105, but that’s skewed because of the different standard kit on the two trim levels.

The 1.5-litre has the sort of middling power and torque output that you’d expect for a car that is pitted against rivals like Volkswagen’s 1.5 TSi, At 8.8 seconds for the 0-60mph time, the power delivery and acceleration are adequate rather than re-defining. No prizes for outstanding pace – middling is the name of the game here – but the turbo entry point is smooth and it’s largely an easy car to punt along.

Where it comes unstuck is the dual clutch gearbox fitted to our car. It’s easy to understand why Kia offers this as an option – long gone are the days when a manual was all that was needed. But the integration isn’t where it needs to be as it’s tricky to drive the Proceed smoothly. Even with a constant throttle pedal, the Kia still lurches and when it’s pulling out of a junction it feels like the clutch is slipping.

It’s better at motorway pace, where those small speed differentials aren’t so obvious, but around town – surely where an ‘auto’ should come into its own – it stumbles disappointingly.

It’s a pity, as otherwise the Kia suits the urban sprawl.

Kia Proceed Estate rear action

The Proceed shares its architecture with the regular Ceed, with MacPherson struts up front, a multi-link rear axle and electric power-assisted rack and pinion steering. It’s a nice set-up, feeling meaty and responsive. Don’t expect it to relay every Tarmac nuance though. 

Revisions from the Ceed hatch to Proceed shooting brake include a body lowered by 5mm, stiffer springs all round, and softer anti-roll bars to help keep the tyres in contact with the road. The body feels well lashed down in corners, with a taut ride that verges on the jarring at times. All the while the front wheels generate resolute grip – unless you’ve overdone it on the loud pedal and generated some torque steer. 

Kia Proceed estate dashboard

Let’s Proceed inside

The driving position is great, however, with the seat dropping nice and low. The controls are largely familiar from the Ceed, with changes kept to a minimum in the facelift version. The 10.25-inch touchscreen remains, still with no easy wrist-rest, but rather than physical controls for the menu buttons (radio, media etc), these are now also touch. To be fair, they remain outside of the screen itself, so are always available as shortcuts.

Kia Proceed Estate infotainment

Thankfully, physical climate control buttons remain, as does the steering wheel-button to turn off the lane keep assist. This is A Good Thing, as the Proceed’s lane keeping is one of the more over-zealous on the market.

The GT-Line S rolls on 18-inch rims, whereas GT-Line cars get standard 17s. Standard equipment on our upper S includes a panoramic sunroof, electric windows all-round and smart cruise control. Bluetooth phone connectivity (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), automatic lights with high beam assist and keyless entry, plus lane keep assist and forward collision mitigation, are standard across the range.

The Proceed shares its wheelbase with its hatchback sibling. Two six-footers can sit inline with no knee rubbing on the driver’s seat back, and there’s sufficient headroom despite that rakish roofline. The electric tailgate swings open to reveal a wide boot stashing 594 litres of cargo – that’s only 31 litres down on the wagon. Pull handles enable you to drop the 40:20:40 split rear seats without having to wander round to the rear doors.

Kia Proceed: verdict

The previous-generation Proceed was a three-door hatch, but sales of such cars had dwindled so badly that Kia decided on a new approach for this generation. It’s largely successful: this sleek five-door wagon is very handsome and a rewarding steer, though it’s more enjoyable in GT trim as the five-door hatch.

Most buyers will be going for the Proceed because of the way it looks and it remains a stylish and unique option. But we’d go manual and not dual-clutch – that’s the better version.

Kia Proceed Estate profile view

More Kia reviews by CAR magazine


Price when new: £32,270
On sale in the UK: January 2023
Engine: 1482cc 16v four-cylinder turbo, 158bhp @ 5500rpm, 187lb ft @ 1500-3500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch, front-wheel drive
Performance: 8.8secs 0-62mph, 130mph top speed, 46.3mpg, 138g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1425kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4605/1800/1422


Other Models

Photo Gallery

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  • The Kia Proceed is now the slinky estate version of the Kia Ceed hatch
  • Kia Proceed: on sale now
  • Kia Proceed interior: a well equipped cabin
  • The Kia Proceed's boot and luggage bay
  • We tested the Kia Proceed GT 1.6 prototype
  • The new 2019 Kia Proceed: our early review
  • Our new 2019 Kia Proceed review
  • Proceed is now Kia for shooting brake, not warm hot hatch
  • Sleek rear end gives Kia Proceed some swagger and estate car creds
  • Kia Proceed interior
  • Full-width lighting bar joins the rear lamps on Kia Proceed
  • Kia Proceed cabin: familiar Ceed instruments and dashboard
  • Kia Proceed goes on UK sale in January 2019
  • Kia Proceed review: facelifted shooting brake tested in UK
  • Kia Proceed estate front action
  • Kia Proceed estate dashboard
  • Kia Proceed review: facelifted shooting brake tested in UK
  • Kia Proceed Estate infotainment
  • Kia Proceed Estate rear action
  • Kia Proceed review: facelifted shooting brake tested in UK

By Piers Ward

CAR's deputy editor, word wrangler, historic racer